October 31, 2007

Chamber Economic Plan

On -line at, click here.

Please note the date...

October 30, 2007

Chamber of Commerce

Is moving to the 2nd floor across from City Hall in the glass tower, think it is 440 Main Street.

October 29, 2007

IMG's Case Study on ORH

Check out this...

  1. The current operating agreement with MassPort that ended with a 6 month extension this past July 1st, started in July of 2004. This was, I believe, one year before IMG was retained so I am not sure how they helped on the joint operating agreement.
  2. Looks like they are trying to take credit for getting Allegiant to ORH for 9 mos, not 12 , and it was Sanford, not Orlando. Again not sure this is accurate.
  3. Check out the last line: "IMG is also supporting the City of Worcester in its continued negotiations with MassPort over a new extended operating agreement whereby Massport would assume operating control of the airport and relieve the city of most of the airport’s annual deficit."

Since IMG was being paid from the Small Community Air Service Grant monies from the IMG, I thought they were hired to help retain and recruit commercial service. Now they are helping with negotiations with MassPort? Again this may be accurate, but something I never realized from the Airport Commission Official minutes and did not realize monies from the grant to recruit and retain commercial service could be spent on consultants to help with MassPort negotiations.

Most disturbing thing about the 3rd point above, however, is that we learn most about the current negotiations with MassPort from the IMG website .

October 28, 2007

Nemeth Column

Sorry, still no story on the airport. Remember it is coming and here are the highlights:

  • The deal will be great
  • MassPort will long-term lease the airport long-term at a nominal amount
  • MassPort will pay the operation deficit
  • We pay the debt service (600,000 per year)
  • Betting $20 (one taker so far) that this will be done for 1/1/8

Instead the story was about Choose Worcester. Here is my favorite line from the story and may be the

He has been meeting with such key partners as the city, chamber of commerce, WBDC, state Office of Business Development, Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative, UniverCity Partnership, Destination Worcester, and others. “We’ve been talking with all the players to learn what they have been doing, to establish communication and trust, to see that we’re all on the same page, to formulate strategies and to find the best ways to collaborate,” he said.

We have 8 "key" partners and "others". Maybe if we had less "key" and "other" partners, people would be able to Choose Worcester easier. It will take Choose Worcester over a year just to meet with all of these groups and "formulate strategies."

October 27, 2007

Special District Finance Zone

We have discussed this once before when there was discussion of the Skybridge. The other day the Telegram had an editorial regarding the financing of improvements at the DCU Center via the Special District Finance Zone. Here is two paragraphs from the story:

The complete upgrade program, which could cost more than $20 million, involves no use of tax money thanks to a special financing plan devised by City Manager Michael V. O’Brien and approved by the Legislature and former Gov. Mitt Romney.

The financing plan created a Special District Finance Zone that includes the DCU Center, the Hilton Garden Inn, the city garage across from the hotel and the Residence Inn on Plantation Street. “Net new” state tax revenues from businesses in the district — including hotel-motel occupancy taxes, food and beverage taxes and taxes generated from the sales of services collected by the state — will be redirected into the special district and will be used to repay loans for the work on the DCU Center

How many times has the Telegram gotten this wrong now?? How can they say "no use of tax money"???? The Special District Finance Zone only lets the City of Worcester retain "NET NEW" state revenuues. The telegram is asserting that there will be enough "NET NEW" state revenues to pay for the $20 million in upgrade. No way!!

I am not saying that we should or should not invest the monies, but the Telegram Editorial Board should not leave the impression that this project will not use any tax monies .

October 26, 2007

City Council Meeting Tuesday Night

Nothing on the agenda for Tuesday regarding the airport. As of next Tuesday, there are two months left in the 6 month extension with MassPort. Again we need to act surprised when MassPort long-term leases the airport for $1, while agreeing to pay the operational deficit. The tax-payers of Worcester will continue to pay the debt service approximately $600,000 per year.

Maybe we will get lucky and Mr Nemeth will write about the airport Sunday.

October 24, 2007

Rockford to Ireland!!

Link provided by the author-Tom Bona from BusinessRockford.com, thanks Tom !!! Here is the story:

Irish destination likely for Rockford airport

Chicago/Rockford International Airport could get weekly flights to Ireland starting as early as December.Maryland-based Kenny Tours is in talks to set up regularly scheduled charter service between Rockford and the western Ireland city of Shannon.It would be a similar model to Apple Vacations’ weekly flights to Cancun, Mexico.

Kenny Tours would contract with another airline to operate flights, but Kenny Tours would coordinate motor coach tours and lodging in Ireland.Kenny Tours hopes to have a deal in place with an airline within 10 days and U.S. Department of Transportation approval shortly thereafter.

Bob Nay, Kenny Tours’ director of sales and marketing, said they’d target people in this region looking to travel to Ireland, as well as Irish tourists looking to visit Chicago, Milwaukee and the Midwest.“(At major airports) people are coming in four hours before their international flight just to make sure,” he said. “Whereas, with us, you get on your flight at Rockford at 9 at night, you’re up there, you have a drink and you’re in Ireland at 8 a.m. ready to go on a tear.”

Airport Executive Director Bob O’Brien confirmed talks with Kenny Tours. He said he knew they were interested in starting anytime between this fall and next spring.O’Brien said Kenny Tours can compete with American Airlines’ and Aer Lingus’ flights from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Ireland by focusing on the free parking and short lines at Rockford.

Also, O’Brien said it’s a lot cheaper for the company to fly out of Rockford, so they can pass the savings on to their customers.Nay said one-week vacation package deals start as low as $1,000 a person. The company also plans to offer flights independent of vacation packages.

Kenny Tours is also hoping to start nonstop service to Ireland from Niagara Falls, NY; Lansing, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; and other markets.Kenny Tours has been in business since 1989, mostly scheduling trips between the United States and Ireland on other airlines. Nay said the company wanted to offer its own regularly scheduled charter service so it could get lower prices.

Staff writer Thomas V. Bona may be contacted at 815-987-1343 or tbona@rrstar.com

October 23, 2007

Festival Airlines

The other day I gave an update on Festival. Sorry, it turns out that I read the story wrong and it was actually from last year. My mistake!!!

If nothing else it shows how difficult a start-up airline is whether it be:

  • Festival
  • DJ Air
  • Hooters
  • TransMeridian
  • SkyValue
  • Hooters

It makes me realize now more then ever what a job Allegiant has done. Thanks to everyone who let me know my mistake.

October 22, 2007

Cape Air

We have talked many times about how we should try to get Cape Air to fly out of ORH to the Islands. Recently discussed looking into Cape Air flying to Boston via a code-sharing agreement with JetBlue, like they are doing out of Hyannis, P-Town, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, but still nothing.

Instead I read about how Cape Air, a local company, is doing great out of South Bend (secondary airport like ORH) to Indianapolis (hub like Boston) and they are considering doing the same out of Gary--check out the timesonline.com below. How can we not be able to lure Cape Air to ORH (secondary airport) while these other 6 cities (all secondary airports) have been to make it happen?

219.933.3326GARY Direct flights to Indianapolis from Gary/Chicago International Airport on regional air carrier Cape Air could start within months.Strong advance ticket sales for Cape Air's new service from South Bend to Indianapolis and Evansville mean the Gary airport will be aggressive in seeking similar service, according to airport director Chris Curry.

After Thursday's airport authority meeting, Curry said he will meet in a few weeks with Sixel Consulting Group, a company that set up the flights in South Bend and wants to do the same in Gary."The underlying dynamics of both airports are the same," said Sixel President Mark Sixel on Thursday. "The business community ... whether it's South Bend, Evansville or Gary, they all need to go to the capital."

Cape Air already has surpassed its goal for ticket sales for South Bend Regional Airport for November, Sixel said. Service does not begin until Nov. 13.Sixel said Gary service could begin as early as January or February, if everything "went perfect."For the full story, read Friday’s editions of The Times.

October 20, 2007

Festival Airlines

From Cheapflights.com. Although Cheapflights does not have a very high opinion, guess what airport is right in the middle of this? If you guessed, Rockford you are right. If you guessed ORH, you are wrong.

Festival to become latest low-cost fairline

Festival Airlines is set to become the latest combatant in the fiercely competitive cheap flights market. According to local press, the new low-cost airline will announce a "relationship" with Chicago/Rockford International Airport. This is expected to feature around 12 flights a week to popular domestic vacation spots.

Festival will be a privately financed venture. Its chairman and CEO, software developer Carl George, explained to Chicago Business: "We will focus on vacation flights, not business flights, and not at busy hours. Leisure travel is the largest part, 65 per cent, of ticket sales." The newcomer plans to be operating flights in 35 cities by 2009 with tickets available for between $150 and $350.

Despite George's confidence, Festival is far from being a full-fledged low-cost airline and has yet to announce details of its first flight. The company has still to be cleared by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and will be operating routes on a contract basis initially.

Festival plans to be flying Boeing 757s out of Rockford, Midway International Airport, Detroit and Cleveland by the end of the year

October 19, 2007

Midway Privatization

We should have looked into this. Over the past 3 years we should have out out an RFP for the entire airport to buy or long-term lease. If Midway can do it, you would think that ORH could have?

Here is a story from Chicago Business.com, part of it is here:

Chicago is "very close" to resolving questions Southwest Airlines and other carriers raised earlier this year about the city's proposed privatization of Midway International Airport, city and airline officials say. A Midway deal is “going to happen,” Mayor Richard M. Daley told Crain’s editorial board in a meeting Wednesday.

"We are close to a number of preliminary terms," said a Southwest spokeswoman who was interviewed later. "We are working very closely with the city, but there's still a lot of work to do." City officials originally hoped to put a long-term lease on Midway up for bid early this year and close the deal by yearend, reaping as much as $3 billion, some experts estimate. The funds would help pay for infrastructure needs and shore up city pension funds.

October 17, 2007

455,000 DOT Grant for Small Airports

I remember when we got this grant three years ago, after failing the two previous years. Due mainly to Congressman McGovern's efforts we received 455,000 to help recruit an retain commercial service. The grant itself was paid out via a reimbursement at a rate of 72.73% limited to a three year period. In other words if ORH submitted $100,000 of qualified bills for recruiting or retaining an airline, the DOT would reimburse the ORH $72,730.

I also remember a group of meeting with Mayor Murray coming up with various ideas as to how we could spend these monies to bring commercial service to ORH. In fact, Mayor Murray mentioned that he may recommend a Blue Ribbon Committee to work on this. In the end, it was decided it was best for the airport itself to handle this.

Over the past three years I have requested these reimbursement reports and have been trying to keep track of how the monies have been spent (note yesterday's e-mail). Per the September Airport Commission Board minutes, the three years have ended. Best I can tell we only received reimbursements of 170,000 over the three year period and in essence left 285,000 on the table.

Maybe if we had invested these monies in free parking and Allegiant Airlines, they would would never have left ORH and right now there would be direct service to three cities in Florida from ORH.

October 16, 2007

Airport Minutes for September On-line

Well they are on-line, click here. Many times I have commented that the DOT grant of some 455,000 had been wasted. In fact go to my May 7th blog which I detailed how monies have been spent to date:

IMG 101,262.90
Advertising 44,989,.37
Allegiant 23,615,.51
Events 11,776.82
Recruitment Material 9,750.00
LaMar 8,610.00
WXLO 5,060.00
Telegram 3,720.00
Tornadoes 3,200.00
Creedon 2,515.10
CommunityAdvocate 2,500.00
Charter 2,400.00
WSRS 2,300.00
Waldron 1,947.60
Guertin Graphics 1,560.50
Radio Ad 1,500.00
DocentServices 1,260.00
Vocero 1,198.12
Printing 1,001.15
Worc Chamber 1,000.00
Fliers 920.00
Curry Copy 719.16
Ballons 275.00

Total 234,321,.20

We are reimbursed at a rate of 72.73% so if all of these expenses were approved (assume that they were), ORH has received 170,421.79. I believe the initial grant was for 455,000 so it appears to me that we have 285,000 remaining in our Small Community Air Service Grant.

In the September minutes it was noted that the three year grant expires on September 9th, but that a two year extension was requested. My translation of this is that we in essence have lost the remaining 285,000 in grant monies. Maybe we should have used this 285,000 and the 100,000 on to keep Allegiant at ORH??? Keep in mind by not have 10,000 passengers this year, we lose another 1,000,000 from the FAA for not have primary airport status.

In other developments hangar 2 repairs are not done yet and the Master Plan is not done yet. Another great two months at ORH.

October 15, 2007

Airport Commission Minutes

There was no August meeting and the September minutes will be on this Tuesday, per e-mail from the Airport Liaison.

October 13, 2007

August & September Board Minutes

There was an anonymous post yesterday that the minutes are available, but they have not been posted. I will request that the airport liaison e-mails them to me and I will post myself on http://www.flyorh.com/.

October 12, 2007

Airport Commission Minutes

The most recent minutes on-line are still from July 9th. .

October 11, 2007


Story in Newsday that includes talk about two Massachusetts based airlines that are focusing on VLJ's. Here is part:

Among those services: Linear Air of Concord, Mass., already has one of the mini-jets and four more expected to arrive in the next several months, with plans to expand its fleet to 15 sometime in 2008. The company already offers charter flights on eight-seat Cessna Caravan turboprops, but Linear Air President and Chief Executive Officer William Herp said the new jets _ which will carry two pilots and three passengers _ are lighter and faster.

It will start using its new jet as soon as the Federal Aviation Administration gives the go-ahead, hopefully sometime this fall, he said. "We have customers chomping at the bit to try them. I literally get e-mails and phone calls every day from people with questions about it," Herp said.

Another local company, a Chicopee, Mass.-based startup called Pogo Jets, plans an initial public offering (IPO) of stock to raise money to order more than two dozen of the jets, with an eye toward launching service in 2009.

October 10, 2007


Longest time ever to post the airport commission minutes has been set as of today. The most current official minutes on-line is now three months old. Hey maybe we should divest from ORH and put yellow boxes there?

October 08, 2007

Airport Minutes

October 8th and the last minutes on line are from July 9th. August and September still not on line. All of the other boards that are on-line at the City of Worcester website are current. The Airport Commission is by far the worst at 1) be timely and 2) giving details.


From the Rockford Star, from blog favorite Tom Bona:

Mirroring a national seasonal slowdown in air traffic, Chicago/Rockford International Airport had its slowest month of the year in September.But bucking the national trend, airport traffic was again up over last year.In September, 11,750 passengers flew in and out of Rockford, a 6 percent increase over last September.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, September is historically the third-lowest month for domestic airlines.“Nationwide, Aug. 15 though about Nov. 15 is the roughest period in the year for the industry as a whole. September is worst, everybody heads back to school,” said Executive Director Bob O’Brien. “This is our weakest month, but not all months are created equal. It was expected for us.

Allegiant Air, Rockford’s largest carrier, cut its service to six flights a week in September. The airline did this at several of its markets because of the seasonal slowdown.But Allegiant’s schedule shows a big upswing for Rockford in the coming months. While only seven flights a week are scheduled for October, 13 a week are scheduled for November and 15 in December.

Preliminarily, the airline is planning 19 a week during March — the most it has ever had at Rockford.That includes two flights a week to Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., starting in November and two a week to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., starting in December. O’Brien hopes to see those routes add flights next year after early success.

October 06, 2007

Allegiant Update

Allegiant Air LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Company (Nasdaq: ALGT), has reported its preliminary passenger traffic results for September. The airline said that for its scheduled service, the number of passengers increased by 48.9% while the revenue passenger miles increased by 40.6%. Allegiant Air's available seat miles increased by 30.9%, giving a load factor of 78.1%, up 5.4 percentage points from the same period last year.

For the quarter ended 30 September, there was a 56.6% increase in passengers, a 45.6% increase in revenue passenger miles and a 35.2% increase in available seat miles. This resulted in a load factor of 86.2%, up 6.2 points from the same period in 2006.

October 05, 2007

Airport Commission Mintes

Still none on-line for August or September.

October 04, 2007

RFD versus ORH Website

Check them out and place your comments:

October 02, 2007

Rockford Airport Authority

Check out there web page. The page dedicated to the airport authority has all the members and e-mails to ask individual members. In addition they have the airport commission minutes, financials and forecasts. Check it out.

They last airport minutes are, however, from July. I will airport their airport director to find out if they have had any meetings since then and how long it takes them to post. Take a moment to review the July minutes which are much more detailed then ours and they even had an executive session, which is fine. Our Board has never had an executive session!! How is that possible?


Sorry about all the negativity lately, but I can not help it. We are in October three month into the six month extension without a word on the status of the negotiations. If we want to have service this winter season, we need to have these negotiations finished ASAP to give an airline time to plan servicing ORH this winter season. Right now no airline would never even consider ORH without any long-term mgmt teams in place.

If we miss this winter season then I do not see commercial service coming back until the fall of 2008. In total that would be two years since the last Allegiant flight. Lastly it really amazes me that an entity that is costing the tax-payers approximately 100,000 per month is not more of an issue during this campaign.

Lastly the August and September Airport Commission Minutes are still not on-line.